Analysts are expecting a 0.3 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate as Statistics South Africa gears up to release the employment numbers for the first quarter of 2019 on Tuesday.

South Africa’s official unemployment rate was recorded at 27.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is now expected to increase to 27.4% in the first quarter of 2019.

Economists have attributed their expectation to the low growth environment and losses of temporary jobs which came as a result of the December holidays.

Economist Elize Kruger says, “We’ve had a very weak economic quarter in quarter 1. We actually expect that the economy would have contracted by 1.5% given the impact of load shedding on both the mining and manufacturing sectors and retail.

“Also given that we know that some of the seasonal workers that use to be employed in the fourth quarter due to the holiday season might have lost their jobs between quarter 4 and quarter 1,” she adds.

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